IT IS Blacktown Spartans' to lose after Round 21 of the National Premier Leagues NSW Mens 1. Their win over APIA-Leichhardt sees them take a two point buffer into the final round of the season, while Sydney Olympic's win over Rockdale sees them wrap up a semi finals place while ending the hopes of Sutherland Sharks
MATCH OF THE ROUND
Sydney Olympic 2-1 Rockdale City Suns, at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic wrapped up a spot in the finals with a 2-1 win at home to Rockdale City Suns, a result which means that both sides will feature in the finals series at the expense of Sutherland Sharks, who will now definitely finish in sixth.
It is a welcome return to finals football for Olympic, while Rockdale will be hoping to repeat last year's run to the grand final.
Olympic took the lead in the first half thanks to a good finish by the in-form Dimitri Hatzimouratis, who took advantage of accurate delivery by Troy Danaskos.
Grant Lee's side took the lead into the break, only to be pegged back when Suns skipper Askin Oygur headed perfectly into the back of the net not long after the half-time break.
Hatzimouratis wasn't finish though and he fired an unstoppable free kick past Tomislav Arcaba, that turned out to be the match winner. The Olympic striker thought he'd netted a hat-trick when he found the back of the net again late on, but he was flagged offside.
It mattered not though as Olympic wrapped up a hugely important victory and one that leaves them in the box seat for fourth place.
Round 21 Review
Manly United 4-0 St George, at Cromer Park
Manly avoided the wooden spoon and St George was condemned to it as the peninsula side thrashed the Saints 4-0.
Both sides knew what was at stake but it was Manly who was fastest out of the blocks, opening the scoring thanks to Brendan Cholakian in the seventh minute.
Manly was in control and they doubled their lead through Chris Payne just before the break, the striker finishing well to notch the first of two goals on the night.
A long range strike from wonderkid Daniel Saric made it 3-0 in the second half before Payne added his second and Manly's fourth with a late tap-in.
Blacktown City 0-0 Sydney United 58 FC, at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City's premiership hopes were extinguished in a drab scoreless draw with Sydney United 58.
A third match without a win after defeats to Rockdale City and Bonnyrigg in the week's previous means that City are entrenched in third and can only finish second if they beat Spartans and Bonnyrigg lose to Sydney Olympic in round 22.
For United, they will hope to finish as high in the mid-table cluster as possible and for this it was a point gained against one of the best teams in the competition.
Sutherland Sharks 1-3 Bonnyrigg White Eagles, at Seymour Shaw Park
Sutherland's semi finals hopes went up in flames as they went down at home to Bonnyrigg White Eagles, who will still believe they can win the premiership.
Robbie Younis was dependable as ever, scoring twice in the space of a handful of second half minutes
With the score at 2-0, Sutherland attacked with renewed vigour but they were stung on the counter attack when Howard Fondyke scored to make it 3-0 with two minutes to go.
A late Jordan Figon goal will be little consolation for Sutherland, who will miss out on the semi finals for the second time in three years.
South Coast Wolves 4-1 Marconi Stallions, at Hooka Creek Park
Wolves' recent run hasn't been in keeping with their excellent turn around this season, but they did rediscover their mojo, thrashing Marconi Stallions 4-1 at Hooka Creek Park.
It didn't seem like it would be so easy when Jared Lum opened the scoring for the visiting side in the 16' minute.
But when Peter Simonoski equalised, it was on for both sides. Not many would have predicted a late hat-trick for Chris Price though, but he scored three in 17 minutes to power Wolves to a 4-1 win in their penultimate game of the season.
APIA-Leichhardt Tigers 1-2 Blacktown Spartans, at Lambert Park
Blacktown Spartans kept the premiership in their own hands with a 2-1 win over APIA-Leichhardt Tigers.
Spartans took the lead through Mitchell Long when he scrambled home from close range after a Spartans set piece.
APIA hit back strongly though and with the evergreen Franco Parisi pulling the strings in midfield, looked dangerous at the start of the second half. Blake Powell equalised with a typically accurate finish but missed chances to Daniel Fogarty and Brad McDonald came back to haunt the Tigers.
Within seconds of McDonald shooting straight at Carlos Saliadarre, Spartans were straight up the other end and when Long was picked out at the back post, he made no mistake, scoring to win the game.
*Photo courtesy of Football New South Wales*